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                               News & Views Monday 20th October to Sunday 26th October 2014

Ganesharajah v SSHD [2014] Unlawful Detention
1) This is a claim in tort for damages for false imprisonment namely, unlawful immigration detention. The Claimant was detained by the Defendant after completing a criminal sentence from 10th July 2008 until 28th February 2013 when he was removed to Sri Lanka, a period of four years and seven months. This length of detention while not unique is plainly exceptional. The Defendant has no unfettered power of detention. The Claimant asserts that this detention was unlawful throughout. The Defendant ("SSHD") contends that apart from the first two months, at all material times the Claimant was lawfully detained.

The result, the Claimant's claim for damages for unlawful immigration detention is dismissed except insofar as the first five days were unlawful in that no notice had been served substantial damages of £500 are awarded and the remainder of the first two months of detention post-service of the criminal sentence is agreed to be unlawful for which nominal damages in the sum of £100 are awarded.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2014/3497.html


AS, R (on the Application of) v SSHD [2014] Unlawful Detention
The claimant challenges the lawfulness of his detention by the defendant between 24 November 2010 and 13 December 2010; he claims a declaration that the detention was unlawful and damages for false imprisonment and breach of his rights under article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The claim is brought pursuant to permission granted by Alexandra Marks sitting as a deputy High Court Judge on 19 March 2014.

Conclusion: For the reasons set out above, I shall declare that the detention of the claimant between 2 December and 7 December 2010 was unlawful and I shall award him nominal damages. The remainder of the claim will be dismissed.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/3478.html


Lawyers Urge Peers to Reject Judicial Review Restrictions
Peers have been urged to reject restrictions on judicial review that will make it harder to challenge government and local authority decisions. The criminal justice and courts bill, which lawyers claim will have a "chilling effect" on those seeking justice, goes before the House of Lords this week.

In a combined statement, the three main legal professions in England and Wales also condemned Ministry of Justice plans to prevent charities and NGOs from intervening in matters of public interest. The Bar Council, which represents barristers, the Law Society, representing solicitors, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) in England and Wales are all opposed to the changes. The plans are aimed at preventing what are described as unnecessary delays. David Cameron, originally blamed judicial review claims for postponing commercial planning developments.

The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has said "leftwing" campaigners have exploited the process of judicial review to frustrate government initiatives and to generate a "lucrative industry" for lawyers. Although the MoJ has already given some ground in the face of opposition, part 4 of the criminal justice and courts bill would, according to critics: restrict judicial review to the wealthy by limiting protective costs orders; render charities and other interveners liable for costs; and effectively "shield public bodies from proper scrutiny when they act unlawfully".
Read more: Owen Bowcott, Guardian, <>21/10/14


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 88
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 8th October and 21st October 2014 - Volume 88  <>here . . .


Ten Myths About Migration
Writers from the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pa’s, Sddeutsche Zeitung and La Stampa address some common claims about migration and assess whether they are true in their country

The overwhelming majority of migrants living in Britain do not need to learn English, they already speak it. As the most recent 2011 census showed only 138,000 of the 7.5 million non-UK born population in England and Wales cannot speak any English. It is true that the main language spoken by 4 million people living in Britain is not English or Welsh but Polish, Punjabi or Urdu in that order. But 1.7 million can speak English very well, a further 1.6 million can speak it well and 726,000 can get by in conversation but have difficulties with written English. This situation is likely to continue as the government has made passing an English language test a condition of getting a visa for work or study or applying for British passport. In addition, it has been made clear to unemployed people that if they are not prepared to learn English they will face benefit cuts.

It has long been recognised that the 138,000 who cannot speak English at all are likely to be among an older generation of Asian women who never learned English and so never worked outside the home or their community. In the past the government funded English as a second language or ESOL classes to improve the chances of integrating new migrants and those who have settled in closed communities. But in recent years funding has been cut and ESOL students required to pay up to £1,000 a course. Despite this courses are oversubscribed Ð an indication of the strong desire of most new migrants to integrate as fast as possible.

Alan Travis, the Guardian <> 21/10/14


'Claiming asylum if Persecuted for Your Faith or Belief'

Parliamentary Inquiry - Call for Evidence

As persecution on the grounds of religion or belief increases so does the number of people claiming asylum due to such persecution. This Inquiry is a joint project of the APPG for Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Asylum Advocacy Group (chaired by Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church with diaspora representatives from other countries facing such persecution.)

While freedom of religion or belief is a protected right under international law and a clear basis for asylum, asylum claims on the grounds of religion and belief (including the freedom to hold no religious beliefs) present unique challenges for asylum decision-makers.

In order to be able to document and analyse current asylum decision-making for this group of claims and thereafter assess the UK performance in line with its legal obligations, the APPG on International Freedom of Religion or Belief is currently calling for submissions from charities, experts, faith-communities and individuals with personal experiences on their concerns, and suggestions on:

· how the UK authorities handle asylum cases on the basis of persecution for your faith and belief

· what challenges are faced in practice

· how they can be addressed and improved

We particularly welcome testimonies from individuals who have recently sought asylum in UK on the grounds of persecution for your faith or belief.

Each submission should be no longer than 3 pages, and clearly indicate the organisation and/or author of the statement. The submissions will contribute to a new report written by the APPG on the subject. The APPG can withhold the identities of authors of statements in the report, if a request for anonymity is clearly made in the submission.

Written submissions may result in individuals or organisations being invited to give oral testimonies at a formal hearing before Parliamentarians. The APPG holds the right to use or not to use submissions in its reporting.

Submissions should be sent to asylum@freedomdeclared.org 

Deadline for submissions is 5:00pm 31st October 2014

All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief And Asylum Advocacy Group 

We are a cross-party group of parliamentarians who believe that International Freedom of Religion or Belief is a crucial human right. We therefore seek to raise its profile in Government, in Parliament, in the media and among the general public. 'Freedom Declared' is our website, designed to help you find out more about freedom of religion or belief and play your part in the fight for this right to be recognised worldwide.

https://freedomdeclared.org/


Legal Advice for Those Without Lawyers in Courts
A network of in-court advice centres providing support for unrepresented litigants in civil and family law cases is to be funded by the Ministry of Justice and expanded to cover the whole country. The initiative, launched on Thursday by family justice minister Simon Hughes, is aimed at helping those no longer entitled to legal aid navigate their way through divorce proceedings and other complex claims.

There has been a surge in the number of "litigants in person" – those who do not have lawyers to argue on their behalf. As many as 650,000 people were deprived of support by changes to legal aid, in most cases involving family disputes, welfare benefits, clinical negligence, employment, housing, debt, immigration and education.

The new money, £1.4m a year, will be pumped into the pioneering work of the Personal Support Unit, which already provides advice in eight court centres in England and Wales. The aim is to expand the number of advisers into courts across the country and link claimants up with pro bono lawyers who can offer free legal support and, in some cases, even court representation.
Read more: Owen Bowcott, Guardian, <>23/10/14


UK Country Information and Guidance - Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of Egypt as well as country of origin information (COI) about Egypt. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether - in the event of a claim being refused - it is likely to be certifiable as 'clearly unfounded' under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.

Within this instruction, links to specific guidance are those on the Home Office's internal system. Public versions of these documents are available at https://www.gov.uk/immigration-operational-guidance/asylum-policy.

Published on Refworld, <>22/10/14


UKHO Country Information and Guidance - Eritrea: Religious Groups
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of – as well as country of origin information (COI) about – Eritrea. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether – in the event of a claim being refused – it is likely to be certifiable as 'clearly unfounded' under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.

Within this instruction, links to specific guidance are those on the Home Office's internal system. Public versions of these documents are available at https://www.gov.uk/immigration-operational-guidance/asylum-policy.

Published on Refworld, <l>22/10/14


UK Government Aware of Cases of Torture in Sri Lanka
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of reports that Tamils deported to Sri Lanka have been subjected to torture and sexual abuse.

This Government fully complies with all of its international obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Home Office assesses each asylum and human rights claim case carefully on its individual merits, taking full account of the latest available country information, case law and UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the Internal Protection Needs of Asylum Seekers. Individuals who face a risk of ill treatment, including torture, on return to Sri Lanka will be granted international protection, and would not be returned. The British Government is aware of cases of torture happens in Sri Lanka and we regularly raise it with the Sri Lankan authorities.


Home Office 'Chaos' Over Asylum Appeals
A letter to Labour MP Paul Blomfield from Home Office minister James Brokenshire, filed in the parliamentary library, highlights official figures showing that on more than 3,000 occasions in the year to 12 December 2013, the home secretary, Theresa May, withdrew her department's decision about an applicant's immigration status as appeals were put in place. More than 200 of these were asylum claims, while over 2,000 related to "temporary migrants" – chiefly people who have come to the UK for a short period.

Critics say the Home Office's actions have left the immigration status of some claimants unclear, contributing to a backlog of cases that have yet to be decided. "It's another example of chaos within the Home Office," Blomfield said. "There are victims at the centre of it all who have bona fide applications and are being left in legal limbo." Statistics show that half of all asylum appeals are successful. However, Home Office officials have been set targets of turning down 70% of asylum appeals, and have been offered gift vouchers, cash bonuses and extra holiday if they hit them.
Read more: Jamie Doward: Observer, <> 18/10/14


Last updated 24 October, 2014